Peer Pressure on Children!

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by:- G.S.Oinam
Children are like sponges, absorbing everything they see around them if parents build on their confidence and support them as well as encourage them to think of themselves as individuals, they will find courage to take their own decisions, even if it means not arguing with their peer.  By supporting and understanding their child, parents can undo the negative influences of peer pressure on their kids, says Kavita Lal, teacher of British School, Delhi.

Peer pressure has always been there and we have all handled it in our own ways. It is a real problem but not unusual one. For children, it is difficult to follow or not be; will accept or reject it. Pull out cash fro ATM or get cash in hand from parents and spend on clothes, cosmetic and toiletries for girls; computer game equipments, fuels, mobile phone and eating for boys; junk food and movies are their favourite and are happiest when a group of girls only wear new clothes or the boys want exactly the same hot wheels/ motor bike as their own friends. Usually, parents ignore this tendency in their child of succumbing to their peer pressure at this stage and amusingly give into the child’s demand. However, the same peer pressure can have quite negative repercussions as the child grows older and there are more serious issues in hand. Peer pressure stems from a need to be accepted. For most children, they are following their peers in a way of winning friends. Being ‘left-out’ or the ‘odd out’ is an awful feeling unless the child is comfortable. With his or her identity, parents need to decide when to stop in, when children says something about it and approach it objectively when girls at 13, has started dating and buying gift for her boyfriends and secret whispers have begun. And, boys at 13, has already started mixing wine in Cola. They want to decide what they buy. They want to be treated like young adults.

Ask their opinions about issues like drugs, missing exam, smoking and dating and it will help the parents to know their view about it. Just listen to what your child shares when the conversation open, and trust his capacity to take the right decision. If an accusation or allegation is made, the children get defensive. He steps seeing your point of view and raise offensive voice to defense them. They are intelligent too. Accepting some of the decisions a child makes, without arguments give him/ her sense of self confidence and independence. From the beginning, when the child is still quite young, parents should not over react and be little the child’s tendency to follow her peers. Not reacting on small issues let them know you are on their side and will listen to them and understand them, says expert.

There are certain other issues like smoking, drinking, drugs, bunking classes where parents need to gently keep in. This is where the parent’s role is very important. Despite peer pressure, parents still have a lot of influence on their children. Issues of dress and hair style is not real issue, sometimes, parents should ignored  it as they should have rights to decide how he want to look; mostly they are influenced by colleagues and environment— fashion, cinema, drama and friends.

Mr. Arbindam Chaudhori, editor, Sunday times has find out three big mistakes of parents and teachers from his experiment and life experiences—first, physically you head a child and you have laid the foundation stone of a future road rage protagonist. There is absolutely no justification for it. Parents and teachers are trying to justify it by saying that there are so stressed, and at times, hitting is the only way out. Your love for child is so less at that moment that you actually take a shortcut to set things right. And, this is one shortcut that is most costly in life. A child can tolerate any amount of your hits, till he is alive. And he gets used to it. If only alienates to repeat the same; and damages his psychology forever. Or else, it makes him most muck and ruins his personality. On an extreme end, the more children are from an abusive family, broken family the more possibility of him lending to jail one day. For all studies on criminals show only these common traits. So, the saying spare the rod and spoil the child could not be more wrong.

Second—most common mistake parents do is misbehaving with the child; and then out of guilt, buying him gifts. Do that and you have taught the child just the opposite of giving love the maximum importance. It means gifts and materials things are more important. And he will learn to value love by toys.

Third—the final mistake of parents do is make statements like “I spend quality time”. Well, the truth is there is nothing called quality time for a child. Yes; there will be times when one of you will be busier and you must therefore, spend a great Sunday with your child. But, you can not become weekend parents in the name of quality time. Because then, the people whom he spends quality time with will decide what he becomes and not you.

So, what about the daily problems of your kids doing something that are not right? Mr. Arbindam says ‘every time the child does something you don’t want him to do, your only job is to explain the same with a smile and friendly manner—whatever the age of the child. A child life has to be necessarily falling of positive strokes and ‘adult to adult ego state’ conversation on every topic of importance. Our parent’s ego state of making authoritative seeping statements without feeling the need to clarify to the child or the ‘child ego state’ will display excessive emotions of any kind. So, it is a conversation which is based on talks, facts and logic but explained sweetly. This is the only solution to all our issues of how to handle problems. Again, what happen when a kid set adamant and throws a tantrum and starts crying? Mr. Arbindam says ‘child do that only when they know it succeeds because they have sense and intelligent as well. So the best way is to take the kids in an embrace again, and tell firmly that whatever he wants he will not get, however, much he cries. So long as he cries, he will love him but would not allow him to do what he wants. The kids will cry louder, will try to force himself to freedom, but all you have to do is just embrace the kid, let him cry and constantly tell him that the more he cries, the more you would love him because you really do love him. And, tell him that though you feel bad when he cries, he still would not get his way ever with adamancy and that once he finishes crying; you will both talk logically on why you can’t let him do what he wants to or buy what he wants to. And, constantly remain the child that love is more important than anything else in the world.

Whatever a child knows that the parents has endless time to explain things and is free of any fear of being admonished, child express himself freely and then listen invariable to what is logical—just because he feels respected and loved, says Mr. Arbindam from his experience.

So, what about the discipline of our kids in our changing environment? From birth to death, we are bound by certain rules. Our mind or body or of controlling behaviour must be practice to obey certain rules of family, learning centre, work place, society and nation and they called it is discipline.

Discipline is necessary for achievement, especially great achievement. Such attainments require careful, vigorous and sustained application of balanced mind and bodies. Discipline goes hand in hand with hard work, thus making it fruitful and worthwhile. Parents give daily routine to their kids; teachers give homework lessons to the student. Children have to follow it, if failed they will get punishment. Each and every organization is governed by certain code of conduct and standing orders, which are often designed to make the organization work within certain specified system so that the delivery model aligns with the organizational vision and value system. However, modern disciplines are result oriented. If your school rules are unreasonable and difficult to adhere to, could gradually make kids feel over disciplined and lost interest in study. Inconsistency in exercising discipline will ruin moral. Ms Kavita Rao, head of Global Human resource says, “Like everything else, discipline in not just black and white. There are shades of grey as well. While some rules have to be stringently followed, there are some rules which need to be flexible.” For example, there should be no compromise on ethics, dress code, loyalty etc. However, some rules that the organization or school can be flexible about include working hours. Schools and parents have to show their kids that rules are performance oriented. For a student to attain his/ her potential, it is important to let them loose. Why punishment a student just because he/ she is a few minute late? Why can not we as a teacher allow the students to be relaxed while in the class? Just because they are a little open does not mean they are not interested. In fact, they are more aware than most of us. To combat absenteeism and tardiness, it is essential to create, clearly communicate and strictly enforce rule on attendance and punctuality. To prevent the emergence of negative energy amongst kids, it is critical that the same rules apply to every kid. Parents and teachers have to set a role model. Children always look-up to the top for discipline like the simple one being coming on time, and then get inspired rightly or wrongly. So, We often says “Like father like son!”